Westtown School - Review #3
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2011-2016|
|Sports and Activities:||I was most actively involved as a member of the Rainbow Alliance, Elements Dance Ensemble, and I was the head of the Drama Club as well as the CAPPIES program each for one year. I was also a member of A Capella club, Ukulele Club, Creative Writing Club, and many others throughout my time at Westtown.|
|College Enrolled:||Bard College|
|Home Town, State:||Woodstown, NJ|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Two aspects of Westtown that stand out in particular are its sense of community, and the education driven towards social change. Its sense of community is in part due to the fact that Westtown is a Quaker school, and the spiritual quality of the school only brings students and faculty closer together through deep reflection and seeing the light in everyone.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing that happened to me at boarding school is that I was able to come into my own person. The independence from home and my parent are integral to who I have become, and I find that I thrive in that sense a bit easier than some of my peers in college. I did not quite realize how much I have grown as a person until I transitioned into my first year of college, and that was when I saw how much Westtown helped me to mature, and maintain independence while also being a thoughtful, and engaged community member.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would have definitely tried to be more outgoing. Everyone at Westtown was always so open-minded and compassionate, that it is easy to take risks and be yourself. My advice concerning that difficulty is to find something that can help you to best express yourself. For me, that outlet was theatre. Theatre helped me to speak my truth and show who I really was to others, and I value that so much. So find what makes you happiest, and helps you to be the best version of yourself, so that you may have the best boarding school experience possible. Try not to hold back so much.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Overall, I just liked the general atmosphere where I always felt supported. Westtown was a good place for me to come into myself, and I don't know who I would be otherwise. I feel that having gone to Westtown, and having had the unique experience of attending a Quaker boarding school, I was apart of something really special.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
I would recommend being a part of a theatrical production, and also taking a religion class with Kevin Eppler. Hang out on South Lawn a lot, and walk to Pete's Produce when Spring comes around. Make connections with your teachers. Walk their dogs. Appreciate the small things at Westtown while you're still there.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
As far as academics, you are given a countless number of opportunities in exploring your interests, and you will always feel that teachers are there to support you. You will also always feel challenged in the best way possible. I especially felt prepared in going to college having come from a Westtown education. Westtown classes taught me how to be fully engaged, and think deeply and contribute thoughtfully. Again, I really cannot emphasize enough the immense support you will have from your teachers. They really made the Westtown experience worthwhile for me.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The school can feel very focused on athletics at times, and that can be difficult if you do not identify as an athlete. Some sort of sport is mandatory, but there are also ways to customize your own program by expressing more interest in the arts, or participating heavily in an activity outside of school.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Although it sometimes feels like the school puts arts on the backburner in competition with the athletics program, I have come from the art programs at Westtown feeling so accomplished and supported in my endeavors. The art teachers are fantastic, and they are not only invested in your craft, but who you are as a person, and your well-being. I have had a particularly great experience as an active member within the Theatre program, and although it is time consuming, it is so, so rewarding. There are many opportunities as long as you put yourself out there and take hold of them. The art teachers will push you to be better, and help you to succeed.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There is an extracurricular activity for everyone. No matter your interest, you will be able to find something you love among the variety of clubs and student organizations. There is a designated club period, as well as a designated time for sports/extracurriculars for two hours at the end of each day. It can be demanding after a long day of academics, but the extracurricular opportunities at Westtown have helped me feel like a fairly well rounded student. On that note, if there is anything you feel Westtown is not offering, your ideas will gladly be heard, and starting an organization or club yourself is simple. The community appreciates what each individual has to offer.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorms at Westtown were really nice, and I realized that in particular when I went to college and the dorms were not as nice as those at Westtown. The boarding aspect of the school really brings classmates closer together, so that each dorm comes to feel like a family. Teachers who live as dorm parents are extremely supportive, as well. It is a strict schedule in terms of check ins and weekend sign outs, etc. but it is manageable. You are able to go home most weekends, but weekends can also be nice for those who choose to stay on dorm. Once you learn to manage your time well, dorm life can be really rewarding.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining hall is very nice and can come to feel like a part of your home. Family style dinners are few and far between, but they can be a great time to come together. The food is good, and there is usually something for everyone. The kitchen staff are very accommodating if you have special food needs, and they are friendly people. You will likely get to know them well. The one major flaw in my experience is lack of coffee.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The surrounding area has everything you will need. You cannot really walk to a town off campus, but there are vans on the weekends, and teachers are often willing to drive students off campus, as well. It is a fairly typical area with shopping centers, grocery stores, a couple of malls, etc. The school is not so secluded that it is difficult to get to something.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The social life is diverse, and everyone makes an effort to get to know one another, and connect to some degree. You will likely interact with most people in your class at some point or another during your Westtown experience. There are no real cliques or major hierarchies among students, which is nice. High school can be difficult socially, but in going to Westtown you will likely have a good high school experience in terms of social life.
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